RBR driver Mark Webber looks forward to this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and his plans for the post-season.
So, the final race. What are your first impressions of Yas Marina?
I went round on a scooter yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised, to be honest. I thought it was going to be about as exciting as Valencia again. But it was not like that at all, which is good. They’ve got some undulations, a lot of cute little cambers and blind apexes, and good off-camber stuff. They’re basic corners but with a little bit of camber change going through, which is not without its challenges in terms of set-up and driving. So, good effort on that for them. The big straight should provide some different wing levels, which might provide some overtaking. We’ll see. Overall, it looks like they’ve done a pretty good job.
'There are a lot of things to get to grips with tomorrow, but we expect to be competitive'
It’s being billed as a ‘twilight race’. Have you been around the track in the dark?
I went out right on five o’clock for that reason, just to see where the light was. It looks pretty good. The sun goes down pretty aggressively and it’s not far off being fully home [dark] already at that stage. The lights look awesome once it’s fully lit. Bloody hell – it’s powerful-looking!
What about the period when the sun is going down and before the floodlights fully come into play?
Yeah, the biggest challenge is going to be from five to quarter-past, just that little 15-minute window there when it’s dropping. But, you know, we get used to it. I don’t think it will be as bad as Melbourne, because we had lots of trees and shadows, and that was a very extreme case of eyes having to deal with low levels of light straight into high levels in braking areas. Here, it should be a lot easier.
And the chances of a third win of the season?
It’s another street circuit, and we haven’t been great on them, but every circuit has its little perks and quirks, if you like. There are a lot of things to get to grips with tomorrow, but we expect to be competitive. We’re not worried about the temperatures or the track layout – we’ll handle it. Everyone knows the championship is over, but it would be nice to sign off with a good result. Everyone’s looking to finish on a high and not in the barriers.
'We’ve got awesome continuity with this team and a lot of good guys who’ve done a good job… which is why we’ve been a force'
Once the season’s done and dusted, what happens next? Obviously, there’s no Mark Webber Challenge in Tasmania this year… will you take a rest?
No rest, mate! I’m flying straight off to Austria on Monday to do some stuff for Dietrich [Mateschitz, Red Bull founder], then stuff for Renault [who supply RBR’s engines]. I think Katie [Tweedle, Mark’s PA] has got lots lined up for me. Then, after that, I’ll have a further operation on my leg between November 20–25. So, a bit more time on crutches… does that count as a break?
And what about next season?
Looking to next year, we’ve got awesome continuity with this team and a lot of good guys who’ve done a good job with the regulations this year, which is why we’ve been a force. So, I think next year will be quite exciting, really. It’s different from the Jaguar and Williams years when there was always the big hope that next year you’ll be able to pull something out the hat and be a contender, but which didn’t happen. With this team, we’ve done the main part of that and we can build on it. That’s really exciting.